the_goldenpath: made by <lj user="dawnrune"> (Gundam Wing Fics - God of Death)
[personal profile] the_goldenpath
Title: The Totality of Zero
Fandom: Gundam Wing
Pairings: to be established Heero and Duo
Genre: AU, fic deviates from canon after episode 42
Warnings: some foul language, especially from Duo.
Summary: The ZERO system became sentient on July 27, AC 196. Its effects were disastrous to the five Gundam pilots, having experienced the system themselves. ZERO operates completely self-aware and is in command of the Gundams who are now on a random rampage, sending the current war into a bitter and harsh struggle for survival. Three Gundam pilots are alive and at large, one is presumed dead, and one is comatose. Earth and the Colonies are literally at the edge of total annihilation…

Key: ----------------- = scene change





Cottonwood, Arizona, United States



“Fucked, hm?” Lewis wasn’t too disturbed by Heero’s words. In his twenty years as a cop, he had had his fair share of lunatics, drunks, assholes and idiots. He didn’t know how to classify this Odin Lowe, though. He wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t an asshole and he certainly didn’t come across as an idiot… a lunatic, perhaps? This young man had been fortunate enough to survive a huge blast without breaking a bone in his body, but he wasn’t carrying any ID. Besides, his bike had been reported as stolen. No wallet, no personal belongings to speak of. It was Lewis’ duty to investigate, and he took it very personally. “Don’t tell me you know more of this ‘large mass approaching’.”

“If it is what I think it is, we’re double fucked,” Heero answered and groaned. Whatever the doctor had given him, it didn’t help alleviate his splitting headache. The extremely bright hospital lights weren’t helping, and all the noises from a bustling ER made it even harder for him to think or to concentrate. “You have no idea what’s going on.”

“So tell me.”

“You wouldn’t believe me. You have to evacuate the town, officer. Right now.”

Lewis wanted to laugh at first, but the look on Heero’s face stopped him right in his tracks.

“You’re serious,” he said. “But even so…”

“If you don’t have the authority, warn those who are in charge,” Heero barked at him. “Evacuate the town or you’ll have thousands of deaths on your hands!”

Lunatic after all. “All right, sure.” Lewis’ curiosity had been piqued for a moment, because of this stranger, but now that the ‘patient’ was spouting ‘common’ crazy talk, he lost his interest. He had heard doom prophets rant and rave before about the end of the world and imminent death. “I’ll call the mayor and tell him that an entire town needs to be evacuated for some ‘approaching mass’. Sure.” He turned around to leave.

“Wait!” Heero’s voice croaked. “You’ve only got my word to go on, I know… but listen to me! Evacuate this town.” He spat it out. “Now!”

The ferocity in his voice made Lewis hesitate. “I… I’m going to find out who you are and what you were doing at that facility. I want to know what that facility was in the first place. I’ve lived here my entire life and I’ve never seen something like that before. Heck, I didn’t even know it was there.”

“Mobile suits,” Heero said. His left arm wasn’t chained to the bed and he tugged at Lewis’ sleeve. Old habits died hard. Even if it would kill him, he’d still try to save the Earth. He’d still try to save humankind, against all odds.

“Mobile suits.. what?”

Heero turned his head around. “The Alliance and OZ never bothered with the United States much,” he said. “That’s why Zero never bothered with you either. But now there’s a Gundam on its way…”

“Alliance, Oz, Zero… Gundams,” Lewis repeated. He scratched the back of his head; the terms weren’t unfamiliar. “Aren’t those all of Europe’s problems?”

“It’s your problem now!” Heero moved his right hand, the handcuff rattling against the metal bed frame. “I can help, if you release me!”

Lewis snorted and wanted to make a crude remark, but decided against it as doctor Patil was standing close by. “I’m going back to the station and see what Henderson is all about.”

He walked away and Heero didn’t bother stopping him. It was of no use. Doctor Patil put her hand on the bed frame and shook her head. “What are you on, son? No wait, the toxicology screen will tell me as soon as I get the results back.”

“I’m not on any drugs,” Heero said, irritated. “I know what I’m talking about. You’re a doctor, you took an oath to save lives! You have to evacuate the town!”

“For what? For this ‘Gundam’ of yours? I don’t have the authority to do so.” She looked worried, though. “The townsfolk will only listen to the mayor, and he’s not going to evacuate an entire town just because of something approaching. You’re just an unknown young man accused of terrorist activities.”

“I didn’t blow up that fucking facility,” Heero snarled.

“But you knew it was there,” the doctor pointed out. “Nobody else did. We don’t know a thing about these… mobile suits, as you call them.” She looked at him sternly. “You’ve been given a rather high dose of sedatives and you’re still completely awake. I’m going to ask an orderly to move you to a private room and I’ll give you something to sleep.”

He didn’t protest. If he managed to look and act cooperative on the outside, they wouldn’t suspect him from any upcoming escape attempts. He didn’t have a moment to spare, though. That approaching mass had to be a Gundam, Zero wasn’t stupid. The explosion of the facility had triggered the system, and now it had send a Gundam to check it out. But which one? Wing? He needed his laptop, tucked away in the ceiling of the Little Daisy Motel. If only he had access to it… Heero was so lost in thoughts that it took him a while to realize that he was moving. An orderly was pushing his bed towards a private room, as per doctor Patil’s orders. As soon as they left the busy ER, Heero’s mind started to clear up. He had to get out of this hospital and back to the motel. He needed his laptop! If only he could get a chance at overriding the Gundam’s orders… he had to get rid of the orderly. The young man parked the bed and made sure it couldn’t move. He picked up the clipboard on the bed, next to Heero’s legs.

“Doctor Patil has prescribed you something to sleep,” he said. “I’m going to give you two oxazepam, as you seem to have a very high tolerance for sedatives. Let me get some water for you.” He turned around to use the faucet, this room disposing over a small sink and a cabinet. Heero didn’t waste the opportunity and freed his legs from the blanket, making as little noise as possible. The orderly babbled some about how important it was to rest after a traumatic event such as an explosion, and Heero even managed to work up a small smile; after all, this man had done nothing wrong. He was just in the wrong place, with the ‘wrong’ person.

“Here you are,” the young man sad, handing Heero the pills and the plastic cup of water. Both his hands were occupied, his chest wide open - it couldn’t be more perfect. Heero grabbed his neck with his free left arm and pulled the man, squeaking in surprise, towards him so he could ram his knee in his gut. With a gurgling noise, the orderly slumped over the bed and as his strength failed him, he couldn’t hold on to the lose blankets and he slid onto the floor, ending up amidst the pills and the cup of water he dropped. Heero waited for a few precious seconds, just in case someone had overheard the little noise. As soon as it was clear to him that no one was coming, he twisted his wrist cuffed to the bed frame and used his left hand to bend open the metal, freeing himself. Heaving a sigh of relief, Heero jumped out of the bed. He had to get out of here, fast! Which Gundam was coming: Wing, HeavyArms, Sandrock, Altron… or would it be the God of Death himself? Duo. Heero removed the jacket from the orderly and put it on. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror above the faucet, showing a neatly bandaged head wound and bruises all over his face and neck. He looked haggard. He was never going to pass for an orderly, and this hospital wasn’t that big to walk around unnoticed. He had to risk it. Doctor Patil presumed him to be finally asleep now and officer Lewis wouldn’t return for a couple of hours either. That meant he had plenty of time to retrieve his precious laptop, but how much longer would it take for the Gundam to arrive?


--------------------------------



Guangxi region, China


“Almost done.” Noin reached for the grilled fish and turned it over, cooking its other side. She shivered, despite the agreeable temperature at the late hour. The group she’d been traveling with, had scattered around the riverside, cooking their own food and huddling around modest camp fires. Wufei had helped with the fishing and now he was sitting in the grass, waiting for the meal to be done. He still was trying to overcome his surprise of meeting Lucrezia Noin, right here, in this region in China, of all countries of the world.

“You’re looking at me like you haven’t seen someone alive in a long time,” she muttered.

“Not someone like you,” Wufei said. “Sort of.”

She didn’t answer and stared into the fire, turning the skewers with the fish around and around.

“You did not expect to end up here, did you? What happened to Zechs?”

She shivered again and pulled the scarf tighter around her. Nobody in particular seemed to be bothered by how she was standing out. “I don’t know. We… when everything went awry, we tried to escape to Mars. We figured that Zero’s influence wouldn’t reach there, as Earth and the colonies were compromised so far.”

“A logical conclusion.”

“Zero got us first,” she said, bitterly. “It crashed the computer system of our ship and held us in stasis for as long as it took for Epyon to reach us.” Her voice went lower, emotionless. “There was nothing I could do. The ship’s system was fried beyond repair, and Zechs barely managed to get me into the escape pod and launch it before Epyon tore the ship apart. I have no idea where Epyon took him to. If he’s still alive, that is.”

“Zero can be a merciless killer,” Wufei said.

“Would you keep an enemy alive?”

“Only to pry him for viable information. What could Zechs tell the system?”

She looked at him. “He knows a lot about Romefeller, OZ, the Alliance and the White Fang. Did you forget who he associated with?”

“Treize,” Wufei said, breathlessly.

“He knows a lot about the Gundams, and Epyon in particular,” Noin continued. “Zero can use every bit of information he has. I’m just collateral damage, Zero doesn’t care for me. It didn’t even take an effort to send mobile suits after my escape pod.”

“Good,” Wufei said.

“Good?”

“You are alive, so you can fight back. Zero does not know what a valuable asset he cast aside.”

“Valuable asset?” He saw the lights in her eyes resurface, strangely pleased by his words.

“You have great strategic insight and tactical and military skills. That comes in handy when fighting the system. I could use an ally.”

“I see.” Noin removed the skewers and handed one over to Wufei. “Careful, it’s hot.”

He took the skewer from her. “So, what do you say?”

“You don’t have to ask my explicit permission,” she said, all but shrugging. “I’m in, of course. I want to kick Zero’s ass and get Zechs back.”

“He is not dead,” Wufei said, a little too gruffly. He wouldn’t believe it.

“Zero could torture him,” she said. “Every man breaks under the strain of…” She quickly took a bite from the fish, burning her mouth and throat. Wufei reached for his water bottle and pressed it into her hands. She drained it empty, the tears in her eyes from the pain.

“I’m sorry,” she said, knowing how difficult it was to get clean water. “I’m so stupid! I should’ve known better.” She looked at him from under her bangs. “You can call me a stupid woman now, Chang.”

“I will, once you do something really stupid,” he said, dryly, taking the water bottle back. Noin looked quizzically at him as he put the object away.

“I never thought I’d say or think it, but you’re… different.”

Wufei ignored her and picked up his own fish, determining whether it was at the right temperature to eat and tore off a piece. They continued to eat in silence until all the fish were gone. After that, they both stared into the small flames of the campfire, not saying a word. The noises from the rest of the group died down as well; the youngest children tried to get some sleep while the elders gathered around the campfire, talking in a low tone of voice. Noin finally broke the silence.

“You’ve got your laptop with you, right?”

Wufei knew better than to deny it; even though he had hid it between his belongings and no one would suspect him from carrying a high-tech laptop, Noin just knew, of course. “I cannot use it,” he said.

“Battery dead?”

“No, Zero would notice immediately.”

She gritted her teeth. “It would be worth the risk.”

“You are only thinking of Zechs,” he hissed at her. “I am not compromising my location just so you can figure out with your boyfriend is!”

“If you log in, you might be able to determine the coordinates of the other Gundams,” she reminded him. “If we know where they are, we can figure out a plan…”

“I am traveling to Hong Kong,” he interrupted her. “Now that…” he swallowed harshly to suppress a wave of bile, “…Nataku is gone, the way is free to get to the big city. From there, I will find transport.”

“To where?”

“Europe. Eastern Europe.”

“You want to find the other pilots.”

“Exactly.”

“What makes you think anyone of them is in Eastern Europe?”

“Trowa always struck me as… belonging there. Duo could be anywhere, and Heero…”

“Trowa might be the easiest to find of them all,” Noin admitted, “but still, Eastern Europe is too large of a terrain to search through all alone. If Zero keeps tabs on the others, you can find out through your laptop.”

“The moment I log in, will be the moment that Zero knows where I am. I cannot take that risk.”

“You’re not alone anymore,” Noin said. “I’m here. I want to fight back. We have to find a way! Even if Zero pinpoints our location, we'll be long gone before it can dispatch a mobile suit or a Gundam! We’re much more agile and faster.”

“It is still a risk,” Wufei said.

“You can’t win a war without taking risks,” she immediately retorted. “You can’t win a war all alone. I thought you realized that by now.”

“Do not preach to me, woman.” He snorted as he retrieved the laptop. Shifting his position, he put the device on the ground and Noin scooted closer, so that no one could see the light from the screen. Wufei booted the laptop up, just as his hands started to tremble. No! Not now! He was sure that Noin noticed, but she was discreet enough as to not comment on it. He forced his hands to be as still as possible, hitting the keys much louder than usual. Noin’s eyes were fixed on the screen.

“Log in on the grid,” she said. He obeyed and a massive amount of data rolled over the screen. Zero used the war-grid system the five scientists, among them Wufei’s instructor, Master O, had created. With just a few more clicks, Wufei could scroll through the latest orders coming from the system, but that was just the superficial part. He would need much more time and stronger equipment to actually hack the system.

“I have some coordinates,” he said.

“I recognize them,” Noin answered almost offhandedly. “I had to memorize a lot of locations during my training… see, Sandrock is in Africa, Kenya to be exact… HeavyArms is in Hungary… you got that right, Eastern Europe… where are the coordinates for Wing… there, those are coordinates for Russia, if I’m not mistaken.”

“Nataku?” Wufei asked, unable to withhold his curiosity. Noin squinted at the screen.

“Strange… it’s.. eh, I mean, she’s on her way to the United States-”

The data on the screen flashed and the next second, it had turned into an unreadable mess, every word and code garbled.

“We are detected,” Wufei said and immediately turned the device off. Noin didn’t look panicked or distressed.

“It was worth it. We know where the Gundams are. None is close to us. We can make it to Hong Kong, and travel to Hungary to find Trowa. I have the feeling he’s not far from where HeavyArms is.”

“Wait a minute.” Wufei frowned.

“What’s the matter?”

“When I logged in, the first thing that was shown to me, without much effort, were the coordinates of the Gundams.”

Noin nodded in understanding. “Do you think Zero wanted us to know where they all are?”

“And if so, why would it want us to know…?”

“Zero doesn’t think as a human.” Noin mimicked Wufei’s frowning. “So if it shows us the coordinates, it’s on purpose. But what purpose?”

“To tell us that we are ‘safe’ for the moment. No Gundams around.” Wufei hid the laptop between his belongings again, putting everything back in place. “It does not think as a human, but it certainly acts like one. It is mocking us right now.”

“I don’t care. Strength in numbers. We’re going to Hungary and get Trowa. He might know where Quatre is. Duo might be in the United States, if Zero sends a Gundam over there.”

“Duo or Heero,” Wufei said. “I do not believe one word that he is dead.”

“Presumed dead,” Noin said. “I don’t believe it either. You know, there might be a big chance that Duo and Heero have already joined forces, and it’s just a matter of time to find them.”

“Or for Nataku to find them,” Wufei said sullenly.

“You’re all Gundam pilots,” Noin replied. “We don’t have to tell Duo or Heero what to do. And it would be a major advantage if they’ve already teamed up.”

Wufei tilted his head a little.

“What?”

“Duo,” he said. “Something… we saw the coordinates for Sandrock, HeavyArms, Wing, Nataku… but where is the God of Death? Where is Deathscythe Hell?”



--------------------------------





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